Routine goes out of the window for many people during the summer holidays/summer in general. Whether you are spending time looking after children, going on holiday, or your usual classes have been altered for the summer period, it’s really easy to put exercise on the back burner for most of the summer.

But not going to all your regular classes doesn’t mean that all the good work that you have put in, in the run up to summer, has to be undone. There are many ways you can stay active while you have the children or are on holiday.

If your children have bikes or scooters, you could walk, jog or cycle with them, even if it is round the block, or to the local playground or park. You may even have a bike trail near you. Can you play football with your children (if they’re not too good!); you’ll soon work up a sweat! For younger children, the playground is a great place for everyone; join in on the monkey bars, push them on the swings, and do squats as you do one side of the see saw with them. For older children, join them on an obstacle course, if you can find one, or do the local park’s Trim Trail. If your child is in a buggy, then each time you pass a bench, sit down and stand up 10 times (squat), or put your hands on the seat or back of the bench and do 10 push ups.

You could pack a picnic and go for a walk, by the sea, or in the woods, or climb a hill. Enjoy nature as well as being active. Make it exciting for little ones by looking for bugs, interesting leaves, stones, and they won’t even realise they are helping you stay active. With older children, maybe it’s about taking interesting photos on their mobile, or selfies….

So, will this make a difference? Research now shows the importance of staying active generally (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, or NEAT). It may not be as intense as a workout, but when you can’t get to your classes, it is better than doing nothing. NEAT is the activities that you do in your every day lives that burn calories. So, the aim would be to increase your daily activities to counteract not exercising. If you want to be more accurate in how active you usually are, then you could use an activity tracker or a pedometer for a week or so before you go away, or the children break up from school, to work out your minimum activity level. You then know that you need to ty and increase your activity over this, or if you wear your tracker during your exercise classes, at least do the same.

If you don’t have children, but are away, find a local gym and try a new class. Or, you can still use the ideas above, such as the children’s playground, but you may want to go when it’s not busy, so first thing in the morning or later in the evening. You can use swings to replicate exercises usually done as “suspension training” or “TRX”, so functional style training. If you do a Google search “Workout in kids playground” lots of ideas come up of workouts you can do in the park/playground.

Even romantic walks along the beach or walking in the swimming pool count as activity (although check whether your activity tracker is waterproof before wearing it in the pool). Hire bikes to explore where you are staying, walk rather than take public transport; when you’re on holiday, hopefully, time isn’t an issue, so relax and enjoy your surroundings.

There are so many ways you can stay active in the summer and enjoy our beautiful world, and if you have children, think of it as helping them too, getting them away from screens which have become a major part of their every day lives, showing them how you spent your childhood, exploring nature and having fun outdoors!

Websites for ideas local to Southampton

https://goape.co.uk/days-out/south-east/southampton

http://www.southampton.gov.uk/people-places/parks-open-spaces/parks/parks-a-z/

http://www.fareham.gov.uk/leisure/discover_fareham/hollyhill.aspx

https://www.hants.gov.uk/thingstodo/countryparks/rhcp/visit

https://www.hiwwt.org.uk/nature-reserves/swanwick-lakes-nature-reserve

https://bouldershack.co.uk/

http://activenation.org.uk/venues/the-outdoor-sports-centre/

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